Rapha Women's Classic Softshell Jacket

This jacket saved my life.

You know when you get those winter cycling blues, the kind that make you sulk and pout and check the weather three times a day, hoping for a better forecast?

If you are like me, when winter finally hits it takes a good solid kick in the butt to get pedaling again.  Not riding my bike makes me crazy and sends me toward the grave at a exponential rate.

Enter Rapha’s Women’s Classic Softshell Jacket, my good solid kick in the butt.

The jacket arrived on my doorstep in a carefully branded Rapha travel pouch shortly before Christmas.  As the holidays ensued and the weather deteriorated, it called to me.

The first opportunity to test the limits of this jacket came in the form of a late night snow ride around town.  It was after 11pm, fluffy white snow was dumping and my friend and I had had enough of polyester tracks suits sleezing around a late night gym.

Playing cyclist in the snow.

The jacket performed well.  I returned home surprisingly dry on the inside despite the 8″ of snow on the ground and one good spill in the middle of the road.  The tailored stand-up collar, fitted hemline with drawcord, fold-out storm tail and elasticized hand holes no doubt played an important role in keeping the moisture out.  Noted: the Rapha Softshell can also take a licking – whew.

Now that the winter riding spell has been broken I have been out in the jacket several more times and it continues to impress me with its features.  The underarm zips came in handy while climbing up a canyon – unzipped to stay cool.   And on the decent, once again zipped up, my chest and upper body were protected from the brutally cold wind.

My favorite part about Rapha gear is their full feature approach – why buy 3 jackets when one will do the job?  This jacket works exceedingly well in the cold (just add base layers), in the wind and when it is wet.  And since you only need one jacket, why not build in all the goodies too?

The Women’s Softshell Jacket provides ample pocket space without adding too much bulk.  Included is a zipper pocket with finger ring catch for easy access, a button hole for headphones and an elongated center pocket for a bike pump.  Inside you will find more refined details including pink cable routing tabs and hanging loop.

My favorite feature, a hand and thumb hole to keep out the wind.

I love the off center zip, combined with the collar bite tab and a high quality zipper, zipping and unzipping in response to ride conditions is a breeze.  Lining the collar with fleece and covering the zip top with the same, these guys really know how to tug at my heart strings.  There is nothing worse than unnecessary chin chaffing when there are so many other good places to feel the pains of a long ride.

To add to a great jacket, like all Rapha gear the fit is supreme.  The sleeves are nice and long and the cut is very flattering.

Of course, you will pay $375 for the goodies this jacket brings but isn’t it worth it to get 3 jackets for the price of 1?  And to look good doing it?

Which brings me to use #4 – all around great wind jacket, I have been caught out in this jacket sans bike and gear.

Thank you Rapha, for saving my life.

By Sarai Snyder – Founder, Girl Bike Love, winter cyclist and lover of great packaging.